URLs du Jour

2021-01-10

[Amazon Link]

Y'know, just searching for "impeach" at Amazon, and then checking out the clothing category brings up an amazing number of items like our Product du Jour. I don't know what that means, and YMMV.

  • But in the non-Amazonian world, the issue is about the guy who, under business as usual, would have his finger on the nuclear trigger for the next few days. How do I feel about trying to eject him before then? At the Volokh Conspiracy, Ilya Somin presents The Case for a Swift Impeachment. Ilya quotes a couple articles from left and … whatever the Bulwark is pretending to be these days. But in his own words:

    Finally, it is important to move decisively against Trump in order to deter future presidents from comparable misconduct. Too many times over the last century, we have allowed presidents to get away with grave violations of the Constitution and horrific abuses of power, without suffering any significant repercussions. I gave some examples here:

    All too many past presidents have gotten away with horrific illegality and abuses of power, such as FDR's internment of Japanese-Americans in concentration camps, Woodrow Wilson's massive violations of civil liberties, and—most recently—Obama's starting two wars without congressional authorization, and Trump's cruel family separation and travel ban policies…

    This history—including his own previous impunity—may well have emboldened Trump into thinking that he could get away with doing whatever he wanted. And if we let the impunity continue, it could easily embolden future presidents, some of whom may be less inept than Trump was in their efforts to subvert liberal democracy.

    Good points. But…


  • Jonathan Turley writing at the Hill contends that a Swift new impeachment would damage the Constitution.

    The author Franz Kafka once wrote, “My guiding principle is this. Guilt is never to be doubted.” Democrats suddenly appear close to adopting that standard into the Constitution as they prepare for a second impeachment of President Trump. With seeking his removal for incitement, Democrats would gut not only the impeachment standard but also free speech, all in a mad rush to remove Trump just days before his term ends.

    Democrats are seeking to remove Trump on the basis of his remarks to supporters before the rioting at the Capitol. Like others, I condemned those remarks as he gave them, calling them reckless and wrong. I also opposed the challenges to electoral votes in Congress. But his address does not meet the definition for incitement under the criminal code. It would be viewed as protected speech by the Supreme Court.

    Also good points. I'm trying to work up an ounce of interest in what happens. Few of our current crop of Federal polticians, Republican and Democrat, seem to be concerned with maintaining Constitutional norms. Or maintaining the values we're supposed to be sharing.

    That is, I suppose, what happens when both parties adopt "Flight 93" rhetoric. About everything.


  • Meanwhile, National Review's Isaac Schor points out that Josh Hawley Is Calling You Stupid.

    The latest insult came on Thursday, only a day after a conspiracy theory not only boosted by, but acted upon by Hawley — a Yale Law School graduate who didn’t believe for a moment that the election was stolen by Democrats, or that it could be stolen by Republicans in Congress during the certification process — resulted in an attack on the U.S. Capitol building. But for Josh Hawley, the greatest tragedy of this past week is not that there was a failed insurrection egged on by the president of the United States. It’s that Simon & Schuster, the erstwhile publisher of Hawley’s forthcoming book, The Tyranny of Big Tech (Big Tech is another issue where Hawley assumes your ignorance), announced it would not move forward with the project. Here was Hawley’s response:

    This could not be more Orwellian. Simon & Schuster is canceling my contract because I was representing my constituents, leading a debate on the Senate floor on voter integrity, which they have now decided to redefine as sedition. Let me be clear, this is not just a contract dispute. It’s a direct assault on the First Amendment. Only approved speech can now be published. This is the Left looking to cancel everyone they don’t approve of. I will fight this cancel culture with everything I have. We’ll see you in court.

    If it’s a constitutional claim that Hawley is planning on making in court, he can expect to have about as much luck as the Trump campaign has had in recent months. Simon & Schuster’s decision is neither Orwellian nor a violation of the First Amendment, much less a “direct assault” on it. The government is not restricting Hawley’s speech. He is free to find a publisher willing to associate itself with him. I believe that Simon & Schuster should not have canceled this contract, as America is better off when its institutions abide by the spirit and not just the letter of the First Amendment. But the company is under no constitutional obligation to associate with Hawley. I can certainly understand why it would not want to after Wednesday’s events.

    The number of probable Republican candidates who I Will Not Vote For Under Any Circumstances just keeps getting longer.


  • At Spiked, Brendan O'Neill writes on The woke purge.

    Cancel culture doesn’t exist, they say. And yet with the flick of a switch, billionaire capitalists voted for by precisely nobody have just silenced a man who is still the democratically elected president of the United States. With the push of a button in their vast temples to technology, the new capitalist oligarchs of Silicon Valley have prevented a man who won the second largest vote in the history of the American republic just two months ago — 74million votes — from engaging with his supporters (and critics) in the new public square of the internet age.

    Not only does cancel culture exist — it is the means through which the powerful, unaccountable oligarchies of the internet era and their clueless cheerleaders in the liberal elites interfere in the democratic process and purge voices they disapprove of. That’s what Twitter’s permanent suspension of Donald Trump confirms.

    In theory, I'm against government regulation of "unaccountable oligarchies". But, like impeachment, I'm finding it difficult to care about what will actually happen.


  • And (you may have missed it but) Joe Biden signalled an upcoming major switch in Covid vaccination strategy. At Marginal Revolution, Tyler Cowen analyzes: "Second Doses" post-mortem.

    The most striking thing about the Biden administration shift to a version of “First Doses First” is how little protest there has been.  Given how many public health experts were upset about the idea only a few days ago, you might expect them to organize a Wall Street Journal petition from hundreds of their colleagues: “Biden administration proposal endangers the lives of millions of Americans.”

    But of course they won’t do that.  Some of that is pro-Democrat partisanship, but that is not even the main factor.  One reason is that public health experts, with their medical and quasi-medical backgrounds, typically have very little sense of how to respond in the public arena if challenged.  For instance, not a single one stepped forward with a calculation to defend “Second Doses.”  They are not especially good at “the internet rules of the game,” which of course are now supreme (not always for the best, to be clear).

    The second and probably most important reason is that, as I had explained, sins of omission are treated as far less significant than sins of commission.  Now that a version of “First Doses First” is on the verge of becoming policy, to do nothing about that is only a sin of omission, and thus not so bad.  Remarkable!  Status quo bias really matters here.

    I'm not sure that "pro-Democrat partisanship" isn't the main factor, but let that go.

    "We must follow the science, which demands this vaccination policy!"

    "Well, let's do this instead."

    "Oh. Ok."


  • And finally, for people (like me) who love interstate competition, check out the "Vaccination" tab on the CDC COVID Data Tracker. It shows our fair state doing… fairly well, actually. As I type NH has had 3079 shots administered per 100K population; That puts us in ninth place out of fifty. Behind only WV, the Dakotas, Vermont, Alaska, Nebraska, CT, and Maine.

    Come on. We should be able to leapfrog Maine! (3082 shots per 100K population.)

    Also good (for state comparison purposes) is Becker's Hospital Review, which provides: States ranked by percentage of COVID-19 vaccines administered. Here, NH is in fourth place (out of 50), administering 48.48% of the doses we've been provided. Doing better: only North and South Dakota, and West Virginia.